Another step forward.

I’m back in school again. It’s taken me over ten years to get most of the way through my degree, after high school. I’m ashamed of that, but it’s also not entirely my doing. When I finished high school, until I was twenty-four, the federal financial aid paperwork made award decisions based on what my parents should be contributing, as well as the state.

My parents, predictably, didn’t put a bent nickel away for my education, so I couldn’t go to school until I was twenty-four. Then I had crisis after crisis, until really the person most frustrated with my drama was me. I was undiagnosed Bipolar II, with complex PTSD. For those not in the loop, CPTSD is where the ingrained reactions were put in place at a young age and reinforced so much that it’s not going away easily. This differentiates from the model of “single traumatic event” PTSD and long term abuse/patterns of family behavior.

Going back to school is good; it’s given me a feeling of accomplishment and I feel like I’m achieving, which is nice. I’m going to school at night, at a community college, where 80% of my classmates are over 30, and everyone is there because they desperately want to improve their lives. It’s a very different ballgame from the state college I went to when I started this blog, where entitled kids who didn’t do well enough to get into a big name university went to wear slouchy pants and Uggs and drink where their parents couldn’t see them.

Ironically, I’m taking an abnormal psych class. We’re required to offer anecdotes, frequently, and I’ve developed a case study on myself where I talk about this other girl who has all these problems. It’s oddly therapeutic.

I’m back on medication. I made the decision because my stress and sleep issues were going to be a problem and I really needed to put them on a leash. I’ve spent the last few years learning how to be hypervigilant of my behavior, how to operate with no medication, how to keep working through it. I’ve learned to pathologize myself to a reasonable degree, to look at something and say, “That’s my tendency towards grandiosity cropping up.” Or, “My anger is not proportional to this situation.” But with school, which is a hotbed of conflicting personalities, and a schedule that is both irregular and somewhat trying, I needed to let go of my hypervigilance and ask the Lithium to take over for a while.

I’m not happy about being on it; it makes me gain weight, and many other annoying side effects. But it is what it is. I need my degree more than I need to be thin.

Life goes on, and I need to catch up. So I put my faith in myself, my family, and my need to succeed. I listen to music that gives me hope and I try not to listen to the parts in myself that say I will fail.

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~ by oniongirl13 on January 15, 2012.

2 Responses to “Another step forward.”

  1. Good for you. People who don’t have the challenges that we survivors deal with daily cannot understand how much it takes to be a college student and a college graduate. You go girl.

    I too had a lot of trouble getting help for the cost of college. It was due to some other reasons, but my abuser made it certain that I could not go to college when I wanted to. It took me a long time and I was so proud. Getting a degree was one of my most treasured goals. I also went to working students colleges and that made a huge difference.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

  2. You’re doing great. It’s wonderful to hear that you are back in school. You are forging a lovely path for yourself.
    -Butterfly

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